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30 Years of the Apple Lisa and the Apple IIe 171

walterbyrd sends this excerpt from an article that might make you feel old: "At its annual shareholders' meeting on January 19, 1983, Apple announced two new products that would play a pivotal role in the future of the company: the Apple Lisa, Apple's original GUI-based computer and the precursor to the Macintosh; and the Apple IIe, which represented a natural evolution to the highly successful Apple II computer line. ... The Lisa introduced a completely new paradigm—the mouse-driven graphical user interface—to the world of mainstream personal computers. (Note that the release of the Xerox Star workstation in 1981 marked the commercial debut of the mouse-driven GUI.) The Lisa’s elevated retail price of $9995 at launch (about $23,103 in today’s dollars), slow processor speed (5MHz), and problematic custom disk drives hobbled the groundbreaking machine as soon as it reached the market. ... Around the time of the Apple III’s launch, Apple was so sure of the new computer's success that it had halted all future development of Apple II-related projects. But by 1982, as it became clear that the Apple II wasn’t going away (in fact, it was becoming more popular than ever), Apple scrambled to upgrade its aging Apple II line, which had last been refreshed in 1979 with the Apple II+. The result was the Apple IIe, which packed in several enhancements that regular Apple II users had been enjoying for years thanks to a combination of the Apple II’s plentiful internal expansion slots and a robust third-party hardware community to fill them."
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30 Years of the Apple Lisa and the Apple IIe

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  • The Lisa was a flop (Score:4, Informative)

    by onyxruby ( 118189 ) <`ten.tsacmoc' `ta' `yburxyno'> on Friday January 18, 2013 @01:32PM (#42626715)

    The Lisa had a mouse and was pushed by Apple management due to the high price tag. The Apple IIe was much cheaper, had visicalc, supported a certain level of commodity hardware and wasn't pushed by Apple management.

    The Apple IIe outsold [] the Lisa 20 to 1.

    /subby, thank you for not claiming Apple invented the mouse and giving credit where credit is due....

  • by pauljlucas ( 529435 ) on Friday January 18, 2013 @01:58PM (#42626981) Homepage Journal

    [T]hank you for not claiming Apple invented the mouse and giving credit where credit is due...

    Except he didn't give proper credit. While Xerox had the first commercial sale of the mouse, it was invented by Doug Engelbart [].

  • by DickBreath ( 207180 ) on Friday January 18, 2013 @02:09PM (#42627115) Homepage
    Don't forget about MacWorks. The floppy disk that let your Lisa emulate a Macintosh. Slowly due to 5 MHz vs 8 MHz processor. And with weird display due to 1.5 to 1 rectangular pixels instead of nice square pixels.

    Anybody remember having to use a Lisa to develop for the Mac? Cross compile. Put it on floppy disk. Then test it on a Mac. And every step was painfully slow. Compilers. Linkers. Inserting a floppy disk. Copying the file. Ejecting the disk.

    Inserting the disk into the Mac had a much shorter delay before you could launch your program. (Assuming the Mac was booted and you had a 2nd floppy drive. Or you used a Corvus drive connected by Omninet.)

    My how things have improved.
  • by DickBreath ( 207180 ) on Friday January 18, 2013 @02:12PM (#42627149) Homepage
    Also remember that performance wise, the $2000 Apple IIe ran circles around the $10,000 Lisa. You could boot up VisiCalc and create a spreadsheet before the Lisa finished booting.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 18, 2013 @02:16PM (#42627195)

    Anyone a Mockingboard fan?

    I cut my teeth too on BASIC and 6502 assembly back then when I was 11 years old in junior high school.
    The mockingboard had excellent info w/ assembly examples etc. for working with the sound chips.
    Used to use the 6522 interrupts on the mockingboard to do different things not always related to sound!
    Huge ultima fan especially with mockingboard.
    Music Construction Set -- landmark interface from child prodigy Will Harvey
    Anyone wire up their non-maskable interrupt to jump into the monitor to aid cracking games? remember those days? The Pirate bay.
    Also wrote BBS software w/ dialup modem and floppies to store BBS message base / user base / e-mail prior to internet e-mail.
    Many hours in front of the apple hacking away.
    Such nostalgia...
    Hard Hat Mack, Cannonball blitz, getting ready to fire up an emulator!

  • Slow? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Zedrick ( 764028 ) on Friday January 18, 2013 @02:30PM (#42627411)
    How was 5MHz slow in 1983? I had a C64 clocked at 0.985MHz (PAL) around that time and it was more than enough + better (in every way) than any Apple.
  • Re:BYTE (Score:5, Informative)

    by anerki ( 169995 ) on Friday January 18, 2013 @02:40PM (#42627543)
  • by Animats ( 122034 ) on Friday January 18, 2013 @04:38PM (#42628877) Homepage

    What is instruction backout?

    When a page fault occurs part-way through an instruction, the CPU has to interrupt execution. After the page has been brought in from disk, execution can resume. But it must resume as if a page fault hadn't occurred. The usual approach is to restart from the instruction that failed, which means that instruction gets done twice.

    The problem is that some instructions aren't idempotent - doing them twice has effects different than doing them once. On some CPUs, an instruction can call for both a memory access and a register increment. If the memory access faults, the register must not be incremented twice. So either the instruction has to be backed out to the state just before it started, or the state of the partially executed instruction has to be saved in the interrupted state. (The M68010 actually did the latter; there were extra words in the state saved on an interrupt to hold data about partially finished instructions.)

    This gets much more complicated in superscalar machines, where multiple instructions have to be undone. See these lecture notes [] from a CS course at U. Vermont, which discusses "back-out", and its successors. In machines with out-of-order execution superscalar processors, you can't just back up; undoing the state of the CPU on a page fault is a big deal. It works, but it took Intel 3,000 engineers to design the Pentium Pro to do out of order x86 code.

Perfection is acheived only on the point of collapse. - C. N. Parkinson